Osama bin Laden was not enough

 

Osama bin Laden was not enough:
Why we must win in Afghanistan
For all their differences, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney agree that we need to end the war in Afghanistan by 2014. But the war with al Qaeda and its allies cannot be "ended" — it can only be won or lost. Despite the negative stories about Taliban raids and insider attacks, the US-led effort is actually on a path to success. Afghanistan is the jewel in al Qaeda's crown, and the extremists who want to bring their fight back to US soil are desperate to recapture it. Do we have the resolve to defeat them? Here are answers to eight common questions about the war in Afghanistan.
Aren't we losing?

No. We have taken the momentum away from the enemy and cleared key safe havens. Enemy-initiated attacks were lower in 2012 than in the previous year for the first time since 2008.  [MORE]
Can't we manage this with counterterrorism operations?

Such operations are complex and demanding. They cannot be dialed up endlessly.  [MORE]
After 11 years without an attack on US soil, aren't we overstating the threat?

Al Qaeda franchises have grown dramatically in capability since 2009. There have been two attacks on US soil since 2009 and two more disrupted attempts.  [MORE]
Can't the Afghans do more for their own security? the threat?

In 2002, there were no Afghan army, police, or security forces. Today, the Afghan National Security Forces are performing well and take four to five times more casualties than Coalition forces.  [MORE]
Even if we wanted to stay, aren't our allies all pulling out?

No. Tens of thousands of British, German, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Georgian, and even Jordanian soldiers are still fighting. More than one in three NATO troops are non-American.  [MORE]
Don't the attacks on us by Afghans prove we can't rely on them once we leave?

No. These are tragic but isolated events. There have been 62 incidents since 2009, including 33 this year, out of an Afghan force of more than 330,000. That means .01 percent of the Afghan security forces were involved.  [MORE]
Did we really accomplish anything with the surge? How do we finish the job?

Since the 2009 surge, allied forces have deprived our enemies of critical safe havens, commandand- control centers, bases of recruitment, and logistical hubs. But we still have a finite set of tasks we must complete to solidify our progress over the next two years.  [MORE]
After 11 years of blood and treasure, is securing Afghanistan really worth it?

Yes. Only by securing Afghanistan can we prevent al Qaeda and its affiliates from regaining what had been their capital and crown jewel. The enemy will not leave us alone just because we leave.  [MORE]

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